One of the architects of the first MAPS project has a simple message for Oklahoma City on the upcoming sales-tax extension vote: Seize the moment.
Rick Horrow, chief executive officer of Horrow Sports Ventures, a sports business consulting company in Miami, Fla., spoke before a luncheon crowd hosted by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce at the Skirvin Hotel. Horrow was one of the original planners for the first MAPS project voters approved in 1993.
The sports consultant told the crowd Tuesday's vote on extending the MAPS sales tax to help renovate the Ford Center is a classic case of seizing the moment.
"When the brass ring is there, you better seize it," Horrow said. "Because you don't know when it's going to come around again."
Oklahoma City residents will head to the polls next week to determine the fate of the current one-cent sales tax, set to expire at the end of the year. The revenue would go toward making improvements to the Ford Center to help bring in a professional basketball team. It would also pay for constructing a practice facility for the team's use.
The city expects to raise as much as $120 million from the sales tax, when and if extended between 12 and 15 months beginning next January.
Opponents of the proposal say residents should not pay for the renovations to aid a private business like an NBA team.
But Horrow said public funds being used to help bring in sports franchises is a common practice around the country, and that if Oklahoma City is not willing to do it, another city will.
"This is a very important next step for Oklahoma City," Horrow said.
The vote takes a simple majority of 50 percent plus one to pass. -Scott Cooper